Geneva-based EarlySight lands €2 million for its eye diseases diagnostic tool

Today EarlySight, an EPFL spin-off developing the next generation of eye diseases diagnostic tool, has announced the first closing of around €2 million, in its approx. €2.7 million seed funding round.

The startup, which was founded in March 2019, uses a novel approach to provide a single cell level imaging of the back of the eye, i.e. the retina. Its technology combines hardware and software to propose a unique medical device that can observe the cells affected at early-stage of the most prevalent retinal diseases such as age-related- macular degeneration (196 million people affected worldwide), glaucoma (76 million people affected worldwide) or diabetic retinopathy (95 million people affected worldwide), to treat them sooner and more efficiently.

Coming out of the Laboratory of Applied Photonics Devices at EPFL, led by Prof. Christophe Moser, the startup has worked in close collaboration with Jules-Gonin eye hospital and Prof. MD Francine Behar-Cohen to obtain the first clinical results on patients.

EarlySight has been supported by FIT (Fondation pour l’innovation technologique), Venture Kick and was one of the EIT Health Headstart awardees in 2019.

This new €2 million seed round was led by Verve Ventures, with other investors including Nina Capital, a European early-stage healthtech fund and other private investors who followed a pre-seed investment.

Timothé Laforest, CEO and co-founder of EarlySight announces: “It’s fantastic to have the support of investors as we aim to grow rapidly and bring EarlySight’s technology at the commercialization level. The capital, knowledge and network they bring to EarlySight enable us to join the new era of precision medicine in ophthalmology.”

The funds will allow EarlySight to grow the team, optimize its technology and perform additional clinical validations. Thanks to them, important milestones will be reached to prepare the company for market entry.

“We are delighted to receive strong support from investors who share our vision. They understand that today’s care of retinal diseases is not satisfactory and needs a strong push forward. Their expertise in MedTech companies will accelerate the development of our product so that doctors and patients can benefit from it as soon as possible,” said Mathieu Kunzi, CTO and co-founder of EarlySight.

“The need for deeper understanding and earlier diagnosis of retinal diseases is only going to increase with the current trends of an aging population. Earlysight has the right ingredients to address this need. We are thrilled to back the Earlysight team and look forward to continuing the journey with them and supporting them in achieving our shared vision”, explained Sebastian Anastassiou, Nina Capital.

“Preliminary results indicate a large window of action between the early onset of the disease and current diagnosis timing, thus confirming the clinical use case. EarlySight is also very relevant for pharmaceutical development, as the lack of objective clinical endpoints has made the development of early treatment difficult. Overall, EarlySight really has the potential to be the next breakthrough technology in retinal imaging, in the same way that OCT was 20 years ago”, said Susanne Schorsch, Investment Manager at Verve Ventures.